Vanderbilt and Kentucky play every year. That means that since 1992, when the SEC split into 2 divisions, Vanderbilt has comprised 12.5% of all the SEC games UK has played in the past 25 seasons. Despite that, look at just how much UK success has been tied to playing Vandy:
Against Vandy: 13 (26% of all UK conference wins)
SEC Road Wins
Against Vandy: 6 (30% of all UK road conference wins)
20+ Point SEC Wins
Against Vandy: 4 (44.4% of all 20+ point SEC wins)
Teams UK Finished Ahead of in SEC
Vanderbilt: 13 (1993, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 2001, 02, 06, 07, 09, 10, 14)
South Carolina: 5 (1993, 98, 99, 2006, 15
Georgia: 1 (1993)
Tennessee: 1 (2011)
Missouri: 1 (2015)
I point this out for a couple reasons. First, thank god for Vanderbilt. Without Vanderbilt, think how awful our reputation would be compared to now. We are not considered the laughingstock of the SEC because of Vanderbilt. Without them, we would be Kansas football. But secondly, it only emphasizes how UK needs to beat Vanderbilt year in and year out to have any baseline for success. They need to be the one conference “gimmie” game because they are the only program with as few advantages as we have.
Mark Stoops is 1-2 against Vanderbilt and that record needs to be 2-2 after . And that record needs to continue to get better and better if Mark Stoops has any shot of keeping this job. Vanderbilt is a MUST. If you can’t beat them consistently, you can’t consistently be a great program.